From college workshops to employment opportunity fairs, we’re constantly bombarded with career advice deemed valuable and seemingly set in stone. Most will be reminiscent of an era when ‘career’ meant landing a job and sticking with it for the rest of your life.
This career advice doesn’t stand the test of time anymore. Nowadays, careers are fluid and a sense of entitlement over oneself prevails, as it rightfully should. With this in mind, let’s find out which are the 7 career advice you should blissfully ignore.
1. Do What You Love
You are fresh out of college and looking for employment opportunities to jumpstart your career. Chances are you don’t really know what you love doing or where your expertise lies. Doing what you love is a slightly confusing career advice.
Most of us will have multiple passions and none of them may really connect with the idea of a career. Your true passion may not even surface until later in life when you have gathered more work experience.
As such, it may be wiser to realistically assess the life you want to lead. Many success stories don’t start out with a passion. It’s the skills that you bring with you in your career that will allow you to explore what you love.
2. Choose Your Career NOW
This is probably the most overstated career advice you will ever get. The sense of urgency it creates misunderstands the fluidity of careers nowadays. Unlike Baby Boomers who did choose their career early on and stuck with it throughout their lives, our generation has the great advantage of experimenting. Careers change and shift all the time. Expectations and your professional and individual evolution have much to do with this premise.
Take the time to examine your skill set and how it correlates with the opportunities from the job market and then move towards developing yourself professionally before starting to apply for a wide variety of positions that you may not even be prepared for.
Keep in mind that first impressions are golden, so if you have your heart set on working for a particular company, you must offer the recruiter a valid enough reason to hire you. While an applicant’s motivation and drive can weigh significantly in their decision, they also need to assess how suitable you are for that particular role and whether you will fit in their organizational culture.
This is why you need to stay ahead of the game and run a thorough analysis of your strengths and core values before venturing on a particular career path.
3. Don’t Take Anything too Seriously
You probably heard this before. While the sense of fluidity may invite the idea of not being too serious about any career path you’re choosing, building upon this idea is a mistake. Once you dedicate your time to being a writer, a lawyer, an investment banker or a graphic designer, make it worthwhile.
Explore your current career choice seriously and with dedication. It doesn’t matter that you may switch it tomorrow for something entirely different. All workplaces and careers will teach you at least one or two useful things. Strive to make the best of it.
4. Limit Your Resume to One Page
This is another redundant piece of advice. If you’re at the beginning of your career, then a one-page resume may be appropriate.
Nonetheless, as career shifts are the status-quo, a one-page resume becomes outdated. With a plethora of internships, volunteer activities and one or two jobs, ‘keep it short’ becomes irrelevant. For those of you who have already garnered some years of experience, consolidating the necessary information on just one page is a very difficult task.
If you want to apply for a Management position at McDonald’s, for instance, you can be sure that a one-page resume will not make the cut. Check out the company’s exact application process before submitting anything, find out what they are looking for and then tailor your CV accordingly.
Moreover, we live in the era of digital resumes and electronic applications, so take advantage of it and flaunt your skills and achievements in a creative and innovative way.
5. Don’t Quit the Job You Are Unsatisfied With
The job market may be fickle. Uncertainty comes with every step you take. Nonetheless, neither of these two premises offer an excuse for being stuck with a job that makes you unhappy. Your work performance, job satisfaction and quality of life depend on how happy you are with your current choice. Explore other opportunities set out for you.
There are plenty of opportunities out there and one of them is bound to be the perfect fit for you. Make the difference between working, performing and doing what you love before setting out to land another job. Here’s a useful read on where to draw the line between them.
6. Work for Free
You will to gain experience and not have gaps in your resume may motivate you to accept that unpaid internship. No matter how common free work is, nothing can take away the fact that it’s also exploitative and unfair. Your work should be valued, regardless of the number of hours you put into it. Don’t stick around in a workplace that not only doesn’t offer any sort of reward but also fails to help you develop new skills. The promise of exposure doesn’t cut it.
7. Don’t Say ‘No’ to Extra Work
You should do the exact opposite unless you want to run the risk of being overwhelmed with work. Being assertive is one thing. Being submissive and willing to bite more than you can chew just to show that you are a great team player may run its course differently than you expected.
Being overwhelmed with work will cancel your chance to shine and take the driver’s seat when it comes to your own career plan.
Instead of focusing on immediately launching your career, consider the lifestyle you wish to lead. Strive to find the right balance between personal and professional life and explore the opportunities laid out for you. Always keep career advice in check; chances are you’re better off ignoring some of them.